Now on display in the Visitor Center is the exhibit “Shining Examples: Silver from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection.” In the tall case are featured coffee pots, pitchers, and tumblers. Specialized pieces for gracefully serving fish, toast, cheese, bone marrow and even the South American drink, yerba mate. Silver is both beautiful and practical once combined with just enough of another metal alloy to increase its durability. It made possible the creation of items like: a table crumber of intricate design, a ruler bedecked with flowers, and even a frame with Art Nouveau styled poppies. Also included, is a well-worn silver-plated spoon that is no longer symmetrical. We can only wonder if it was used by a cook to scrape the bottom of a cooking pan, or was used as everyday favorite, sparing the sterling pieces from ware. Also on display are two examples of 20th century place settings. Viewers can appreciate the ornate style of the repoussé “Baltimore Rose” pattern by the Heer-Schofield Co. and contrast it against the elegant colonial-revival simplicity of the “Mary Chilton” pattern by Towle Manufacturing Co.
Did you know society has not always associated the color pink with femininity? In 1918, the clothing company Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department rules that pink favors boys, because it descends from the strong and aggressive symbolism of red. As time progresses, however, color assignment lacks unanimity, with different regions advertising pink for both girls and boys.
Thus, pink would have been a suitable choice for the fashion-conscious McFaddin women, and perhaps we can view their extensive collection of pink as a reminder to their strong will and leadership. As refined hostesses, avid civil servants, and socially active women of the 20th century, Mamie and her mother, Ida, acquired an array of mementos that proved functional and pretty in pink.
The new display in the Visitor Center features pink objects from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection, hailing from countries like Italy, England, France, and China. Catch a glimpse of the charm and regality of the McFaddin women through Summer 2019.
The McFaddin-Ward China Collection
The McFaddin women adored china. Mamie McFaddin Ward and her mother Ida owned some thirty-six sets! Not all were dinnerware, however. They included breakfast, tea, and dessert sets too, and they happily used them all.
New exhibits featuring ceramics from the McFaddin-Ward House Collection are now on display at the Visitor Center.
The exhibits are of select Dresden and fine china and dinnerware. The pieces originate from factories in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the USA. This is a rare chance to see a large sample of plates all at once. The exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018.
Current Visitor Center Exhibit
Ida Caldwell McFaddin and her daughter Mamie McFaddin-Ward inherited certain fashion accessories, but they also followed the trends of their respective times. Clothing and accessories from 1880 to 1919 are shown in the exhibit as well as those from 1920 to 1959. Though made of various precious materials, all are shining examples of jewelry from the turn of the 20th Century.
The McFaddin-Ward House has recently installed two new display cases that will allow visitors to get closer to objects than they’ve ever been before. Brilliant, cool lighting in the cases highlight details of beads, gemstones, and craftsmanship. They sit below large portraits of Ida Caldwell McFaddin, the first lady of the house, and her sister, Ouida Caldwell Watts, who frequently visited. Future exhibits will often showcase items that belonged to the two. On exhibit now are “Purses and Accessories” that range in date from around 1900 to 1960, some engraved with the sisters’ monograms. We invite you to come and experience these objects like you never have before!
Beaded gold and turquoise purse, tassel trim, c. 1920
Metal necklace with blue speckled glass beads, c. 1920
Beige and white beaded clutch purse, by Jolles, c. 1940
Embroidered and beaded purse with brass closure and chain, made in France, c. 1930
Petit point purse, brass closure and chain, c. 1930
The McFaddin-Ward House was built in 1905-1906 in a Beaux-Arts Colonial style. Its furnishings and décor reflected the lifestyle of the family that lived there for seventy-five years. The family collected objects and chose to live with things they liked. This reflected their tastes and the changing trends of the times. Some objects they chose were more classical and others more humorous or trendy. In this exhibition case we feature some of each of these types.
Since ancient times, coffee was said to have healing properties. After-dinner coffee was thought to assist digestion, enhance endurance, and act as an antidote for inebriation.
The Middle Eastern custom of drinking very hot, black coffee in small cups traveled to Europe along with the beverage, in the 17th century. It was the French, in the 1800s, who originated the demitasse and turned after-dinner coffee drinking into an art. Demitasse means “half-cup.” The cups are, typically, half the size of a regular coffee cup, holding two to three ounces of beverage. The smaller size facilitates the drinking of strong, after-dinner, specialty coffees, such as espresso, cappuccino and Turkish coffee. Tea may be served in demitasse cups, but they are really meant for coffee.
Certain rules of etiquette are followed for after-dinner demitasse serving and drinking. The coffee is strong and always served black. Cream is not offered and should not be requested. Sugar, however, is permissible. Demitasse cups are always used. These are placed on a matching saucer and accompanied by a demitasse spoon. Only one cup of coffee is served, and it is not polite to ask for a second.
The coffee can be served to guests several ways. Cups can be brought in, unfilled, by a butler. A second butler brings the coffeepot. Each guest is offered a cup, which is then filled. The coffee can also be poured in the kitchen or butler’s pantry and served to guests on a tray by a butler. A less formal way of serving is to have the butler place the coffee and cups on a tray. This is then placed on a coffee table in front of the hostess. She pours the coffee, and the butler takes each cup to a guest. On occasion, a liqueur can be offered with the coffee or after the coffee has been taken.
By the 20th century, any woman who entertained, formally or informally, would have owned demitasse sets and served after-dinner coffee. Ida Caldwell McFaddin and Mamie McFaddin Ward owned numerous demitasse sets and spoons. The sets in our collection contain from four to twenty-four cups and saucers each. There are a few individual cups, suggesting a special find on a shopping trip or perhaps a souvenir purchased on a vacation, or a gift given by a friend. Although the sets are in very good condition, they do show the wear expected from frequent use.
The exhibit, currently on view at the McFaddin-Ward visitor center, features twenty demitasse cups, sixteen matching saucers and eleven spoons. The variety of patterns and styles would certainly have assured Ida and Mamie of having just the right demitasse for any occasion.
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The McFaddins collected a lot over their years spent in the house, including many pieces destined for the two dining areas of the home.If you’ve visited the museum, you’ve seen examples of these lavish tablescapes, often set with exquisite pieces of china, silver, cut glass, and others.
A new exhibit at the McFaddin-Ward House Museum’s Visitor Center is showcasing a few items that brought color and playfulness to these elegant table settings.
“Lively Tableware” features food-themed serving pieces from a variety of countries, including Japan, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and the United States.
These colored glass marmalade jars were made around 1918, by the Steuben Glass Company in Corning, New York. They were given to Mamie and Carroll Ward in 1919, as wedding gifts.
They were produced about the same time the Steuben Glass Company was purchased by the Corning Glass Works. At that time, Corning halted all production of the Steuben’s colored glass. It wasn’t until 1921 that production began again, but was stopped completely in 1933.
This ceramic fruit was probably produced in the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, located in the northeast Veneto region. These pieces are marked only “Italy,” but are almost certainly products of Bassano del Grappa potters, probably dating from the 1920s or 1930s.
The town is very old, dating back to at least the 2nd century. In the 15th century, it developed a community of artisans noted for their work in wool, silk, and especially ceramics. These fruit pieces are indicative of that thriving industry.
There are many other pieces on display. The exhibit is located at the Visitor Center, located at 1906 Calder. It can be viewed anytime the museum is open, and will be on display through May. Come by and check out the “lively” pieces!
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In the last century, the tradition of writing was the main way to keep in touch with friends and family over long distances. Some writing implements and accessories from this era lent a certain luxury to this important social ritual that we relish, even today.
A dedicated letter writer, Ida McFaddin kept up with communication trends, and in the 1930s she purchased this portable Royal typewriter.
We can almost imagine Ida McFaddin, impeccably dressed, sitting at her writing table to compose a letter on her Royal typewriter. As she would have wanted everything “just so,” we envision her there with this cup and saucer filled with perfectly-brewed tea. Crown Staffordshire China Company, Ltd., Burslem, England.
The act of sitting down to write a letter may be somewhat lost on younger generations, but we history-lovers cannot help but smile when a hand-written note comes in the mail on beautiful stationery. This hand-embroidered Montag writing paper belonged to Mamie McFaddin. Montag paper was popular during the 1950s and 60s and was often given for special occasions, or even Christmas.
This postal scale, ca. 1950, was made in England. Back before dashing off quick text messages or emails was possible, letters–oftentimes, very lengthy–were written, especially if there was a lot of news to include; often they took more than one stamp. This postal scale had counterweights that indicated the weight of the letter, letting the writer know how much postage to use to ensure that it reached its destination.